In this fast paced world that we live in it is sometimes fun and interesting to take a look back at how past generations spent their time. I am at that age when I can honestly say that I have experienced some of those old times. Now don’t misunderstand me, I do not live my life in the past and I try not to live my life waiting for the future with the exception of waiting for Jesus Christ to return to earth. No, I am learning to be perfectly content living my life in the here and now of the present age. But I do love to explore historical places and learn something new, don’t you. Did you know that is rather a Biblical concept?
My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:1-4, (New International Version or NIV).
I love to read historically correct novels and to watch historically correct movies. I am a fan of Jane Austin as an author because she writes of a time that differs in many ways from my own. I would have loved to have tea as she did every afternoon. But hearing about my own family history is so much more interesting. I had good story tellers in my family that just made our family history come alive when hearing about it. Throughout most of those stories there is a wonderful reminder of how God has been faithful to those who are faithful to Him. We need to remind our children and our grandchildren that God has been working in past generations just as He works in this present generation. That is why I love the scripture reminder in Psalms and other places to tell the next generation of the glory of God.
These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:1-9, (NIV).
Of course this command was to Jewish parents in teaching the Law of the Old Testament to their children. That was the intent and the purpose for this command. You may say that since we are now under the New Covenant as presented in the New Testament that we don’t need to heed this command any longer. I would disagree with you. While we no longer obey the Law of the Old Testament we can learn so much in fulfilling the command of passing to our children and our grandchildren the heritage of Christianity. If they don’t learn it from you then who will they learn it from? Also we are reminded that all scripture is useful for instruction and reproof.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:14-17, (NIV).
The Apostle Paul told Timothy that he had learned the Old Testament scriptures from his Mother and Grandmother as a baby until he became a follower of Christ. The Old Testament has value in teaching us so much about God. Wouldn’t you agree? We don’t need to follow the Old Covenant but we can learn from it.
In my own family history I learned how my Great-Grandmother felt that she was a spoiled brat and that she hated walking up and down the rolling hills of Iowa to and from school each day. She said that she was the only daughter and that her brother was much older than she was. She had piano lessons and she had pretty dresses to wear. She laughed when I told her that I certainly didn’t think that she acted like a spoiled brat. She told me that was because God had been working on her for seventy years by that time and that she had done some changing. She was in her mid-nineties when she went to be with our Lord. I have never met such a positive person as she was. She would say that God had been good to her and that it was easy to be so positive with all His many blessings in her life.
I also learned the heartache that my Dad carried from the time he was eleven until the day of his death. His precious Mother, whom he loved more than life itself, had died when he was eleven. He never left her side even though his aunts and uncles tried to make him leave when his five brothers were taken away from the family home where she died. He ran and hid in the barn until all the children were gone and then he waited outside her bedroom window to be near to her. Finally the family doctor told them to let him come inside and be near her since he wanted to be there so badly. His Mother’s love and the loss of her stayed with him always. I believe that is why he taught us to cherish our Mother because she was a very special person in our life. He was right. I also heard him say that God helped his hurting heart heal when God brought him into my Mom’s family because his Mother-in-law was so caring and tender to him. He adored her!
I learned how my Dad’s Father fell apart after the death of his precious wife. It came at a time when our country was going through a deep depression and the family farm was also lost. My Granddad crawled into a bottle and never came out for many years. I often have wondered how different life would have been for my Dad and his brothers had his Mother lived or had his Father not become an alcoholic to deal with the pain of losing her. Yet I also saw that God was merciful to my Dad and that my Dad became a Christian because he knew that he needed the strength to continue in life from his Savior. I am so thankful for his decision and I praise God for not only my Dad but also my Mom’s Christian faith. Their life wasn’t easy but it was good because God gave them strength to keep going and to keep blessing others.
Have you looked into your own family heritage lately? Do you see how God has been working in your family? Did the previous generations in your family answer the call that comes to every person to know God? Or are you the first generation to accept the free gift of salvation? Whatever the past is, I can assure you that God was there then as He is now to work in your life today. Why not pass on your family history to your future generations. It is a worthy history for them to know and to praise God for being faithful and keeping His promises.